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Sunflower - A Golden Potential

Pioneer France held a conference in Bordeaux - Lac, France, in mid-January, titled "Sunflower, a Golden potential." The intent was to discuss the unexploited potential of sunflower and to show how Pioneer advances in genetics and agronomic knowledge can positively impact growers' productivity and profitability.

More than 300 French and Spanish participants attended the event, among them farmers, dealers, distributors, and business partners: as a genetic and agronomic expert, Pioneer gathered together the whole value chain.

Pioneer's Michael Keller, Government Affairs-Public Affairs Manager, Western Europe, opened the event presenting the conference's program, while Henri Batut, Western Europe Business Director, Leon Streit, Pioneer Research Director-Sunflower, and Bruno Bertheloz, Pioneer Marketing Manager delivered speeches.

"Today, plant breeding involves elite genetics and technologies that accelerate performance," explained Leon Streit at the conference. "Modern biotechnology provides breeders with an extremely powerful tool, capable of increasing farmers' productivity. This has to remain associated with the work of local research that helps understand the challenges and opportunities in each production area."

Nowadays, sunflower cultivation is utilized for only 55% of its potential in France. The numerous research programs conducted at the Pioneer research station in Montech, France, focus on improving the sunflower productivity and oil content, tolerance to pests, weeds, stress tolerance (such as drought) and on improving the nutritional value.

"Today more than ever, we cannot disconnect our agriculture from global issues. Producing more becomes an unavoidable issue of modern agriculture and yield must improve," argued Bruno Bertheloz. "Genetic progress, product knowledge, cultivation management are essential ways to intensify cultivation and valuable assets to meet the challenge of extracting 100% of sunflower potential," concludes Bruno.